How To Treat An Ankle Sprain
An Ankle Sprain is a very common injury. Children are generally a lot more active than adults and more likely to be on uneven surfaces, so there is a good chance they are more likely to sprain an ankle than an adult.
What Is An Ankle Sprain?
An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments of the ankle are stretched or torn. This can happen on the inside or the outside of the ankle but it more commonly occurs on the outside. Pain along the inner side of the ankle may represent a more serious injury to the tendons or to the ligaments that support the arch and should always be evaluated by a podiatrist or doctor.
Mild ligament damage will cause the ankle to tender often with associated swelling and bruising. Major sprains are extremely painful and hard to walk on.
Who Is At Risk Of Getting An Ankle Sprain?
Those who are at the most risk of an ankle sprain is those who are participating in sporting and athletic activity. Sports where there is a lot of jumping (i.e. Basketball or Netball), changes in running direction (i.e. Tennis), or playing on uneven ground (i.e. Football or Soccer), are at even greater risk.
Foot types, such as a pronated foot (foot rolling inward too much), or supinated foot (foot rolling outward too much), also increase the risk of spraining your ankle.
Inappropriate footwear can also increase the chance of an ankle sprain due to not having the right support or grip for the activity you are doing.
Poor biomechanics and poor balance also contribute to the risk of an ankle sprain. This means you other joints and muscles in the body are functioning properly during your walking and running and jumping motion. This can increase fatigue and the likely hood of spraining your ankle.
How To Treat Ankle Sprain
An ankle sprain, no matter how minor should be treated promptly to avoid long-term problems with the joints or ligaments.
- Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, (R.I.C.E), should be followed the first few days after the injury.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication or creams may be prescribed to ease pain and inflammation.
- Prescription orthotics/foot supports may be needed to support the ankle and foot as it heals.
- Stretching and Strengthening Exercises should be prescribed by your podiatrist or your doctor to assist with mobility, enhance stability and strengthen the area to prevent any future or further damage.
**** NOTE: If you have any concern that your injury is more than a mild sprain, an ultrasound and x-ray should be taken to rule out a break, or fracture, or severe ligament tears (where immobilisation casting is needed) ****
How Can I Prevent Ankle Sprains?
- Appropriate footwear for the activity you are participating in. It is always best to get fitted by a specialist shoe store or visit a specialist sports podiatrist who can give you advice and knowledge.
- Have your biomechanics and feet checked by a specialist sports podiatrist who can make you aware of any risk factors that may contribute to spraining your ankle
- Warming up and stretching before any activity
- An ankle brace may be a good option if you have ‘weak ankles’ or have had an injury before, however visiting a specialist sports podiatrist can prescribe the right one for you.
****Prevention is always the key with any type of injury. We advise all our patients to come in for a ‘pre-season assessment’ so we can prevent any injuries from happening before the season starts ****
Article by: Kim Thompson
BHSc Pod NZ MAPodA AAPSM